14. Thrillco - Sky Blue Sky
Okay, seeing this is my first post post-working man, I kind of feel like I'm posting from beyond the grave. Seriously, when you're not sitting in front of a computer 8 hours a day, there's so much more out there, and sending emails, or posting blogs or what not seems a bit sirry. For instances, I've put on my serious poetry face again. I try writing a couple stanzas here and there while I drink my morning coffee. I almost wrote this email out on paper with college ruled lines before turning it in and realized that was just way to gay. In fact, that I write this at around 8 PM at the Compound is freaking me out enough. I do have a tasty rum and coke though, and the last time I drank a rum and coke on a weekday was a very long time.
So now, the question is, WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH WILCO? Well, I could reiterate how and why bands selling their music for car commercials complete ruins things you love, but why? This album was cruising to the top of my year end list until every time I heard it, I pictured young adult men driving around in their VWs. That sucks.
Another thing I want to say about this album, is I think I understand why heroin exists. I've never understood it and enjoyingly have never been near it, but man, without heroin, music would probably suck much more. Not from the listeners standpoint, but from the artists. See, it's great that Tweeds is all free and clear now'n shit, but see what happens? I like my musicians strung out while recording, it's not my life, it's not the lives of my friends and family. So, to all future musicians that I do not know, and hope to acquire me as a fan in double-aught 8:
- Do Heroin
- Record a couple good albums
- Die young
This is the wisdom I gain as I near the triple triple.
Also this, don't look at everything. There are so many things that don't need to seen.
#13 Blitzen Trapper - Wylde Mountain Nation
Blitzen Trapper, I don't have nearly as much to say about them as I do Wilco, but I will say this.
I finally saw No Country for Old Men and it was everything a film can be. You forget sometimes, the potential of films, with all these comic book movies, part fives of movies like SAW that sucked to begin with, and chick flicks, and couple flicks, and whatever other crap horrywood decides to throw out at ya, that good movies can be made. It doesn't need to be VIOLENCE in a new way that's more gory than the last ... ohhhh, look at me, I'm making a movie that's really gory because the current American culture lacks substance when it comes to entertainment because MTV has CUT CUT CUT our minds in half for the past 20 years and all I can take now is watching retards try to hurt themselves or eat disgusting shit, jerks. (Reason #41 why the simpsons is now completely irrelevant and there's a generation of douchebags that think Family Guy is quality entertainment).
Okay, Blitzen Trapper ... let's see.
I'm trying to think if I've ever trapped anything. One time, our yard was overrun by squirrels and fortunately I borrowed a Squirrel Trapper from Nicky Palmasano from the Old Neighborhood, so instead of my dad killing them, once captured, I made sure we drove them to the woods just to the east of Braeburn Elementary school.
Seriously, a nice debut effort from the band. Right now though, they're all over the place. It's going to be great to see where they end up. (Hopefully heroin will be involved :))
Number Twelve - Ween - La Cucaracha
If I could talk about my overall new favorite band for the year 2007, Ween would top that list if MMJ didn't exist, and like 10 other bands called it quits a la Electrelane (just missed the cut by the way). Speaking of which, it's really hard for me to get into music that has no future or past. Electrelane's newest album was pretty good, not spectacular, but a nice album and once they went on an "Indefinite Hiatus" it was dead to me.
Anyhoo ... La Cucaracha. Great album. It may lack an overall depth that will keep you coming back to it, but take off a failed reggae song and maybe a couple others, and you have a nice listening experience.
Another thing I learned in 2007 is that, a friend is a friend who knows what being a friend is.
Ofcourse that's nothing compared to her being "my cock professor, studying my dick and getting her master's degree in fucking me." Ween exudes a class I don't think anyone else understands.
Numero Ereveren ... If food do you please ...
11. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank - Modest Mouse
Merry Xmas everyone. I'm in Melbourne and my ma's making a roast. I'm drinking a much needed coca-cola on what turned into a pretty impressive bender of the past week or so. Damn. Daggity dag damn.
Anyways, let's hope it's not over for the Mouse. I initially wasn't going to include this album because it's the first Mouse album that leads me to believe they've lost their edge. I sincerely hope not. However, I listened to it a few times ago and if you delete
We've Got Everything
the rest of the album is nice. A few other songs are a bit weak, but tolerable, and it has some home runs, like March into the Sea and People as Places as People. So despite them taking a step backwards, a step backwards for them is still more than most bands taking two steps forward. Okay, I'm about to start singing Opposite's Attract, so that means I'm done for now.
Number Sign 10 - In Rainbows - Radiohead
Like many Americans, I got caught up in Radiohead fever, I guess sometime 'round Rocktober, and ended up paying a strange amount of money for 10 good songs. For many review outlets, this album was treated as if it were a gift from God or something, and people talked about how great Radiohead is and blah blah blah.
Ultimately, what you have here, is a good album. Like Modest Mouse though, it's really nothing new. It's safe. Radiohead doesn't play it safe, and now they have on their last two albums (as has the Mouse) so it appears as if these turn-of-the-century heavyweights are fading.
I heard The Bends for my first time this year (on my own). It's such a fantastic album, and this new one is good, but that's it. It's not a classic. It's marketing scheme? Well, that obviously won't be forgotten. So ultimately, it's think this album is a gimmick. I know you could find song by song reviews on just about any music website, but those stories were always accompanied with the packaging, and how much one paid for it. That's great I guess, but I live in an era where the packaging of an album doesn't really matter. It's a bit sad, with the birth of the portable storage music device, album covers don't matter anymore. In fact, all my albums on this list, I barely even know what the covers look like. Ofcourse, my ipod is vintage now, but still.
As some of us debate whether albums will continue to give way to the playlist, or single, or group of songs, or whatever is going to happen, it's going to be equally interesting to see what happens with the evolution, or creationism (let's keep it balanced), of the album cover. Shouldn't Marilyn Manson have a cover with Mohammed's image on it by now? Some band will eventually do this, right? Maybe Toast will have a reunion album just so we can have an album cover that features a Royal Rumble with the participants being prophets and wrestlers from the 80s. Seeing Hacksaw Jim Duggan cracking Moses with a two by four, while George the Animal Steel is eating a turn buckle and Jesus is giving the Iron Shiek the business would be priceless.
Revolution #9 ... !!! - Myth Takes
One of my highlights of 2007 was pronouncing the name of this band. There was "The Exclamation Point Band", there was "Nck Nck Nck", and then I found out it came from the sounds to locals made in "The Gods Must Be Crazy", which is the best yet because popping sound is tremendous. Maybe combining that sound with the finger wag, would be my Mike Tyson's Punch Out-esque signal that my special move is coming.
In terms of the music, I loved this album at first, and like most albums I love at first, I don't like it as much later in the year. Still, it has some quality tunes like the title track, Bend Over Beethoven, Heart of Hearts ...
And pardon my inconsistency as to how I present song titles.
Also pardon how each paragraph was shorter than the last.
Numero Ocho Amy Winehouse Apoya a Negro
Quiero Amy Winehouse
It's nice that we have a real rock star again. Sure, it's a little frustrating trying to listen to someone who shares headlines with the unholy ladies of no-talent except being drunken skanks because she ZACTUALLY has real talent. After my Ronettes, Darlene Love renaissance of late last year, I like having music take a turn towards that era, especially when it involves a freaky looking weave topping drunk like Ms. Winehouse. Sure, the irony of her going to Rehab this year is a little disenchanting, but it's great having a rock star you know could die any day, thus leaving her legacy in stone.
Will I be sad when she dies? No, not really. To me, it's like Kurt Cobain killing himself, or the Bhutto's of the world getting assassinated, some things you just know are going to happen, and they can't be stopped.
Like the Buccaneers winning another Super Bowl this year.
You can't stop Jeff Garcia, you can only hope to contain him (don't read to far into that though).
Lastly, after I just did spellcheck on this bad boy, it doesn't recognize skank as a real word, which isn't right. So, I guess when I play my mom at Scrabble later, I probably shouldn't put skank on the board. Oh well.
As I approach going to bed in a warm Melbourne, FLA home, I've decided to knock out two more of my favorite albums of this past year. Sometimes, with these long, drawn out lists, I don't know why I do this to myself. This is painful. Hopefully, one of these upcoming mornings, I'll have a nice cup of coffee back in my apartment's breakfast nook and I'll knock out the TOP FIVE all in a row. After all, those who are around me every week, pretty much know the albums I've been getting geeky over all year, so it's not too much of a surprise. And let's say it was a surprise ... oooooo weeeeeee zach likes some band of douchebags that comes out of wyoming la di freaking da ... yeah. This will definitely be my last list that I don't do all at once.
Anyhoo, let's get on with this one. Let's see.
7. Iron and Wine - The Good Shepherd
Because I'm really tired, I want to make fun of this album in the same manner I just made of myself. Since I've been out of work, I've been emailing at strange times in different moods. The standard one or two cup of coffee buzz isn't dictating what I write anymore. Right now, the need of sleep is.
I saw Chuck Wilson's War today and it was very good, except, maybe I took it too personally. I thought the end was a little preachy, a little, like it was taking a stance that we shouldn't leave Iraq, and whether I think we should leave Iraq or not, I don't want an otherwise great movie (and this was a great movie, P.S. Hoffman rocks again) to tell me how I should feel about a certain issue. Maybe this movie was merely commenting about it's own subject matter, and not the current state of affairs in the Happy Gulf. Maybe it was because I was sitting next to my mom and know how she feels about the current state of affairs and my natural inclination to play Devil's Advocate took over, and by that I mean, mimicking Keanu Reeves performance in that film ... woah, I must be tired, that makes no sense whatsoever. Point being, Chucky's War = great movie. Probably don't need to see it twice though, but years from now, when it's on cable, you'll always stop to watch.
6. Liars - Liars
I finally like an album from this band. Frankly, I didn't care two courics if Drum was dead, or Drum was not dead. The album before that, well, I don't remember at all. This one, although difficult in some parts, is grand. Some songs kick major ass in ways I've never heard songs kick ass before. The only downside is, every time I hear their name, I always think of that silly Henry Rollins song that goes
CUZ I'M A LIAR!
Henry Rollins is a douche. There, I said it.
Yes, I am disappointed that it's the last day of the year and this is the first time I'm referring to this year as "The Sev." I could've been doing this all year. Oh well, atleast when I talk about the past, I'll always have it then.
Happy New Year!!!
So, to tie up loose ends and shaggy beards before this year ends, I present you, THE KING OF CARTOOOOOONS. And what does the King say?
Let the cartoons (dramatic pause) begin.
5. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
What a coincidence that the same year the Spoon greats release an album with this title, that my friends and family start procreating. I may have lost two grandparents this year, but I went 4 for 4 with healthy babies, so that's awesome. I guess that's what happens when you don't meet your friends outside of Women's Health Clinics.
This album is another great one for Spoon. It starts off a bit shaky for me, and I don't like that dang "You've Got Yer Cherry Bomb" song, it drives me nuts, but once it's over, this album hits a gold streak that rivals the beginning of Fiction, and the entire Moonlight lps.
4. Feist - The Reminder
I can't bereive this album made it up to #4 on my list. What started out as my trusty Monday album, turned into one of the year's best surprises. If you're scoring at home, this means I have two Grammy nominated albums on my list (Amy Winehouse was the other). What the hell is the world coming to? Is it aging? Is that what this is?
For those that don't know, Feist was one of a birrion people that made up Broken Social Scene, and get this, she ZACTUALLY lends vocals to all of our favorite, Peaches, on The Teaches of Peaches. This right here is a good girl. "The Reminder", is simply a genius album. Sure it's a bit challenging to listen to that "1, 2, 3, 4" song which was all over the ipod commercials, but now that those commercials have waned, it's not that bad anymore. Nearly every song on this album is great, and I wouldn't be surprised if 5 years from now, the ends up being my favorite album of the Sev.
That'd be an interesting experiment, waiting 5 years before I do the list. That's kind of like assessing NFL drafts of something. Let's see, top 5 of 2002 ... let me go get my ipod ...
Sea Change - Beck
Yoshiimi - Flaming Lips
Kill the Moonlight - Spoon
Blazing Arrow - Blackalicious
YHF - Wilco
Okay, I don't have my old list anymore (lost in the great Peer Title fire of the Sev), but I know it was pretty close to that, so I did good that year.
3. M.I.A. - Kala
I may be kidding myself, or caught up in some internal OCD political battle within myself for not putting this #1 on my own freaking list. This was possibly my most listened to album of the year, and the first four songs are tits. So rather bore y'all with why I'm in love with this dance-challenged Sri Lankan, let me say why this album isn't #1.
It has some songs I'm not particularly fond of. On her last album, despite the whole thing being something I've never heard anything like before which is why I loved it so much, it didn't take too many chances from what it was. On "Kala", she takes those chances, and a couple times, hits a home run, especially "Paper Planes." The downside of taking chances, are uncomfortable songs, and there are a few of those on here. Still, I haven't deleted anything off my ipod yet, except for that terrible "extra" song she does with Timbaland. Timba needs to stick to producing other people, and not worrying about himself.
2. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
I haven't heard a song so awkwardly titled since Poison's "Unskinny Bop." (Coincidentally, I haven't heard a song ROCK this hard since the Bop either). Seriously though, I've never been a huge Stripes fan. I've heard most of their albums, and always love a few songs on each because JW kicks so much ass in a world where no guitar players kick ass anymore. The kickass guitar players are either in stupid Mountain Dew guzzling EXTREME bands, or non-existent in pretentious indie bands. The fact that the Strokes are one of the more powerful bands out there (that is if they still exist) that aren't completely crappy, just goes to show you how far rock'n roll has fallen. JW brings it back though.
This is the first Stripes album where their shtick doesn't wear off after 3 songs. There's enough "other stuff" going on on this album to keep you interested. Even Meg's song in the middle doesn't ruin this one. Nearly every song on this is a home run, and I'm not talking a steroid induced Bonds shot, I'm talking a Dave Winfield over the centerfield wall bomb shot in Yankee Stadium. That's what JW is to me, a home run hit by a slugger from the 80s. Take your pick, Winfield, Dale Murphy, Eddie Murray, Andre Dawson, Mike Schmidt, Mattingly, Paggs, Tony Armas, hell, even Rob Deer.
1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
At first, I wasn't too down with this one because I thought it was waaaaaay to pretentious, and as you can tell by my list, I'm moving away from the hipster scene as I approach my mid 30s. I don't wanna get involved with bands that won't exist in 3 years, let alone never come to the great City of Tampa.
The more I listened to this album though, the more it grew on me. Everything is so subtle on this. I've probably never heard crescendo's like this album has in my life, and it's like you don't even know they're happening, they're just all of a sudden there.
Anyways, that's it for me this year. I want to thank anyone and everyone who's taken the time to read anything I've written all year. 2008 will be a little different for me, but now that I have a computer, there will always be emails, it's just a matter of when. So, as the quest for getting my bathroom reader published begins, I'll leave you with this before the NYE festivities begin:
I raise a toast to all of us
Who are breaking our backs every day
If wanting a good life is such a crime
Lord then put me away ... yeah!
Here's to ya